Mirrors prove to be a winning addition to Wigan equestrian centre

Horse riders are reflecting on the possibility of making a handy addition to their training hub permanent.

Thursday, 1st July 2021, 1:57 pm

Large mirrors were initially erected at Parbold Equestrian Centre to shield the animals and riders from building work nearby, which could distract or unsettle them.

But staff have now applied for planning permission to keep the mirrors for good.

They are used widely by top horse riders and it is believed they will be useful for horses and riders.

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Ursula Morris, 10, on her pony Skippy, in the paddock with mirrors at Parbold Equestrian Centre
Ursula Morris, 10, on her pony Skippy, in the paddock with mirrors at Parbold Equestrian Centre

Owner Nicola Bennett said: “The mirrors are a training aid for horses. It’s a very common occurrence, a lot of people have them nowadays. It means you can see yourself in the mirror and see how the horses are going. It’s for dressage purposes.”

The mirrors, which are more than six metres tall, were initially put in place to protect the horses from the sounds and sights of construction work at a nearby property.

Nicola said: “We are doing it because the neighbour has just demolished his house and is rebuilding it. We have a riding centre and Stable Lives charity, so we have a lot of children with learning disabilities and police, fire and ambulance staff with PTSD, so we want to have a nice, calm place for them to come and work with the horses and relax.

“Because the demolished house is only 40 metres from the arena, we thought it would be a good distraction to have them looking at themselves rather than the work. It’s meant we can keep working.”

The mirrors are already in place temporarily and Nicola says they have made a “massive difference”, so she hopes they can be kept permanently.

It would allow riders to train in the same way as others at the top of their sport.

Nicola said: “My daughter is an international rider and we go up and down the country working with different riders and most places have mirrors now. The horses have taken to it really well.”

A planning application has been sent to West Lancashire Council and staff at the centre are waiting for a decision to be made.

One Bradshaw Lane resident has submitted an objection to the scheme, describing the mirrors as “a substantial and obtrusive feature that has an impact on the visual amenity of the countryside”.

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